Thursday, April 23, 2015

Fall River, Massachusetts' `Not Seasonally Adjusted' Jobless Rate: Still 10.1 Percent In March 2015

In March 2015, the official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate in Fall River, Massachusetts was still 10.1 percent; while Massachusetts’ “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate was still 5.5 percent during that same month, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

The official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate in 7 other major Massachusetts cities and in the town of North Adams was still higher than the “not seasonally adjusted” national U.S. unemployment rate of 5.6 percent in March 2015:

1. The official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate in Lawrence, Massachusetts was still 9.6 percent in March 2015;

2. The official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate in New Bedford, Massachusetts was still 9.6 percent in March 2015;

3. The official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate in Springfield, Massachusetts was still 9 percent in March 2015;

4. The official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate in North Adams, Massachusetts was still 7.8 percent in March 2015;

5. The official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate in Brockton, Massachusetts was still 6.6 percent in March 2015;

6. The official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate in Lowell, Massachusetts was still 6.3 percent in March 2015;

7. The official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate in Pittsfield, Massachusetts was still 6.2 percent in March 2015;

8. The official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate in Worcester, Massachusetts was still 5.7 percent in March 2015;

In addition, the official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate in Lynn, Massachusetts was still 5.4 percent in March 2015; while the official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate in Boston, Massachusetts was still 4.2 percent during that same month.

According to the Massachusetts’ Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development’s April 16, 2015 press release:

“….Information had no change….in its jobs level over the month….Construction lost 2,100…jobs over the month….Financial Activities lost 500….jobs over the month….Government lost 200….jobs over the month…”

In March 2015, the “not seasonally adjusted” number of unemployed workers in Massachusetts was still 181,100; and around 49,000 of these officially unemployed workers lived in Boston, Brockton, Fall River, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, New Bedford, Pittsfield, Springfield, Worcester or North Adams, according to the “not seasonally adjusted” data. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The `New York Times'' Mexican Billionaire Connection Revisited: Conclusion

New York Times Owner Slim’s U.S. Real Estate Investments

In New York City and other U.S. cities, Slim has also apparently been purchasing more real estate property since he purchased stock in Citigroup and the New York Times Company in 2008. As Adam Piore noted in an Oct. 1, 2010 article in The Real Deal article:

“…New Yorkers know him as…the man who…dropped $44 million on the Duke Semans Mansion on the Upper East Side, but Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim has plenty of other real estate holdings outside of New York...While Slim has beefed up his New York real estate portfolio lately, he’s also made moves like gaining control of a prime half-billion-dollar property in Beverly Hills…His New York purchases were made through Inmobiliaria Carso, a closely held entity for Slim’s family that is not required to release as much information… Slim ponied up $140 million in June to buy 417 Fifth Avenue from a joint venture of the Moinian Group and Goldman Sachs’ Whitehall Street Real Estate Fund…."

So don’t expect The New York Times to start publishing many new expose’s of the New York City real estate industry if Mexican Billionaire Oligarch and Philip Morris International board member Carlos Slim increases his share of New York Times Company stock to 19 percent in 2015.

(end of article)

Monday, April 20, 2015

The `New York Times'' Mexican Billionaire Connection Revisited: Part 15

New York Times Owner Slim’s Foreign Investments

Whatever happens within Mexico with regard to anti-monopoly legislation or human rights violations, New York Times Owner Slim and his family’s ability to accumulate billions of dollars each decade may still not be affected that much as long as the capitalist economic system exists around the globe, because an increasing percentage of his 21st-century profits have been coming from his investments in countries other than Mexico in recent years. As an article in the July 20, 2014 issue of Bloomberg Business Week observed:

Slim said this week that his America Movil…is bowing to antitrust legislation by selling assets in Mexico to reduce its dominant market share…While America Movil will be reducing dependence on its home market, the world’s second-richest man has been diversified beyond Mexico and telecommunications for years with holdings in banking, mining and construction…America Movil has also expanded, with operations in 17 other countries, from the U.S. to Chile. It also holds stakes in two European phone carriers, Royal KPN NV and Telekom Austria AG…With about 60 percent of America Movil’s sales coming from outside of Mexico today…Slim’s fortune is less dependent on his home country than it used to be…”

In addition, “through America Movil,” New York Times Owner Slim also “committed $60 million” to an Israeli startup, “Mobli as a model of the type of potential investments in Israeli firms,” according to Forbes magazine (12/21/13).

(end of part 15)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The `New York Times'' Mexican Billionaire Connection Revisited: Part 14

Mexico’’s Human Rights Situation and Mexico’s Oligarchs

Despite the passage in 2013 of an anti-monopoly reform bill that would reduce Slim’s share of the Mexican telecommunications consumer market to below 50 percent, the human rights situation in a Mexico whose economy remains dominated by billionaire oligarchs like New York Times Owner Slim still needed improvement. As a 2014 Human Rights Watch (HRW) report, for example, observed:

“Upon taking office in December 2012, [Mexican] President Enrique Peña Nieto acknowledged that the``war on drugs’ launched by predecessor Felipe Calderón had led to serious abuses by the security forces. In early 2013, the administration said that more than 26,000 people had been reported disappeared or missing since 2007…Yet the government has made little progress in prosecuting widespread killings, enforced disappearances, and torture committed by soldiers and police in the course of efforts to combat organized crime, including during Peña Nieto’s tenure….Members of all security force branches continue to carry out disappearances during the Peña Nieto administration, in some cases collaborating directly with criminal groups. In June 2013, Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) said it was investigating 2,443 disappearances in which it had found evidence of the involvement of state agents…From December 2006 to mid-September 2013, the CNDH received 8,150 complaints of abuse by the army, and issued reports on 116 cases in which it found that army personnel had committed serious human rights violations.

“The soldiers who commit these abuses are virtually never brought to justice, largely because such cases continue to be investigated and prosecuted in the military justice system, which lacks independence and transparency…Torture is widely practiced in Mexico to obtain forced confessions and extract information. It is most frequently applied in the period between when victims are arbitrarily detained and when they are handed to prosecutors, when they are often held incommunicado at military bases or other illegal detention sites. Common tactics include beatings, waterboarding, electric shocks, and sexual torture. Many judges continue to accept confessions obtained through torture, despite the constitutional prohibition of such evidence.

“…Between January and September 2013, the National Human Rights Commission received more than 860 complaints of torture or cruel or inhuman treatment by federal officials…Prisons are overpopulated, unhygienic, and fail to provide basic security for most inmates. Prisoners who accuse guards or inmates of attacks or other abuses have no effective system to seek redress.

“Approximately 65 percent of prisons are controlled by organized crime, and corruption and violence are rampant, according to the CNDH. Some 108 inmates had died in 2013, as of November….At least 85 journalists were killed between 2000 and August 2013, and 20 more were disappeared between 2005 and April 2013, according to the CNDH…Independent unions are often blocked from entering negotiations with management, while workers who seek to form independent unions risk losing their jobs...Human rights defenders and activists continue to suffer harassment and attacks…In many cases, there is evidence—including witness testimony or traced cell phones—that state agents are involved in aggressions against human rights defenders…The UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions conducted a fact-finding mission to Mexico in April-May 2013, and stated that extrajudicial executions by security forces were widespread and often occurred without accountability…”

So, not surprisingly, as recently as Nov. 8, 2014 Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director of Amnesty International--in response to the Nov. 8, 2014 statement by Mexican Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam about the 43 Mexican students who disappeared in September 2014—noted that “tragically, the enforced disappearance of these student teachers is just the latest in a long line of horrors to have befallen Guerrero state, and the rest of the country;” and “the warning signs of corruption and violence have been there for all to see for years, and those that negligently ignored them are themselves complicit in this tragedy.”

(end of part 14)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The `New York Times'' Mexican Billionaire Connection Revisited: Part 13

New York Times Owner Slim’s TracFone Connection

The May 10, 2013 Forbes magazine article also observed that New York Times Owner Slim’s TracFone Wireless Inc. mobile phone service firm—the fifth largest in the United States in 2009--was “the largest recipient under the U.S. Federal Communication Commission’s Lifeline program, taking in $451.7 million, or 28%, of payments in 2011, the last year for which records are available” and “has four million TracFone customers participating in the government phone assistance Lifeline program.”

An Oct. 7, 2013 Two Countries One Voice press release also noted that “on July 11, 2013, the California Public Utilities Commission fined New York Times Owner Slim’s TracFone $24 million and settled a battle that has drawn out in both the courts and before the California Public Utilities Commission surrounding the pay-as-you-go mobile provider’s failure to pay fees and surcharges that fund programs for the deaf and poor.” The same press release also observed that “in May 2013, Mexico’s Congress: finally “overwhelmingly passed a far reaching telecommunications reform bill designed to improve competition in Mexico’s phone industry, which is controlled by Carlos Slim,” but that the Two Countries One Voice activist group “will continue to be the voices for the voiceless, giving prominence to the plight of the poor, who are impacted by Slim’s practices.”.

(end of part 13)

Friday, April 17, 2015

The `New York Times''' Mexican Billionaire Connection Revisited: Part 12

U.S. Protests Against New York Times Owner Carlos Slim's Exploitation Of Workers And Consumers

It’s not likely that much news about protests in the United States or Mexico against the exploitation of workers and consumers around the globe by New York Times Owner Carlos Slim will be mentioned much on either Ora.TV shows or on the front page of the New York Times. But in an Aug. 7, 2012 Daily Intelligencer article in New York magazine, Joe Coscarelli noted how some Occupy Wall Street activists were planning to protest outside the Saks Fifth Avenue store in Manhattan, that was then owned by New York Times Owner Slim

”…What's left of Occupy Wall Street plans to join forces with Yo Soy 132, the similarly amorphous Mexican student group…for a demonstration against Slim's `monopolistic practices’ at his telecommunications companies. `Carlos Slim is the 1 percent of the 1 percent,’ said one Occupy organizer…`Slim is the world's richest man, the largest stakeholder in Saks Fifth Avenue, and has been accused of overcharging impoverished Mexicans by over $129 billion as owner of Mexico's largest phone company,’ the group stresses. `What better way to protest predatory greed by taking over his Fifth Avenue store?’…

And in its May 10, 2013 issue, Forbes  magazine described another protest against New York Times Owner Slim’s exploitation of workers and consumers that was held in the New York Public Library:

“Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim was in the middle of promoting his partnership with Salman Khan, the founder of Khan Academy, during a public event at the New York Public Library on Thursday night, when a group of sixty activists started snickering audibly, escalating to loud guffaws.  The activists, members of Two Countries One Voice, a Latino advocacy group created in 2012 to organize public demonstrations against the world’s richest man,  said that the “laugh-in” was to denounce Slim’s `monopolistic and predatory practices.’…It was interrupted for several minutes by the loud laughing of the protesters and resumed later on when the protesters left the room spreading small Monopoly paper money with Slim’s face printed on it.  `The point of the laugh-in is to expose Slim,’ said Juan Jose Gutierrez, founder of Two Countries One Voice.  `Given Slim’s track record, his interest in suddenly providing educational services to Mexicans is laughable.’…

(end of part 12)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The `New York Times'' Mexican Billionaire Connection Revisited: Part 11

New York Times Owner Slim’s Ora TV-Larry King Connection

As The New Yorker magazine noted in its 2009 article, “under the original terms of the Telmex privatization, the company was prohibited from offering television service” in Mexico. Yet a few years after Carlos Slim became the second-largest holder of stock in the New York Times Company, his America Movil telecommunications firm began funding the Ora.TV digital television network that began airing a Larry King tv show. As a Mar. 12, 2012 press release on the Ora TV website noted:

“Global media industry leaders today announced the creation of Ora.TV, a new digital television venture funded by América Móvil, the leading Latin American wireless service provider that is controlled by Carlos Slim Helú. The announcement marks the return to television of broadcast news legend Larry King, who joins Mr. Slim Helú as a co-founder of the network. Ora.TV will be led by Jon Housman, who until recently was the President of Digital Journalism for News Corporation.

“Ora.TV will create high-quality video programming for digital distribution…The company will produce shows that resemble traditional TV..In addition, Ora is in discussions with other on-air personalities to join King…Carlos Slim Helú is considered one of the world's foremost business leaders with interests in finance, media, telecommunications and other fields. He owns stakes in many companies, including The New York Times, Saks, and is the main investor in Telefonos de Mexico, América Móvil and Grupo Financiero Inbursa. `Ora.TV represents a great opportunity,’ Carlos Slim Helú said….Larry King is joining the network….

"`I am thrilled to be working with Carlos…’ King commented. `The backing of Carlos…is a recipe for success’…”

(end of part 11)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The `New York Times'' Mexican Billionaire Connection Revisited: Part 10

New York Times Owner Slim’s Historic Microsoft-Bill Gates Connection

Besides owning a lot of New York Times stock and sitting next to former U.S. Secretary of Defense and Trilateral Commission member Harold Brown on the Philip Morris International corporate board in recent years, Mexican Billionaire Slim has also historically had a business relationship with U.S. Billionaire Bill Gates’ Microsoft Corporation and its Prodgy MSN subsidiary. And on Mar. 21, 2000, a Microsoft press release stated:

“Telmex and Microsoft Corp. today announced the formation of T1msn, the result of a joint venture agreement signed last year between the two companies. T1msn will create and operate a leading Spanish-language Internet portal, launched today…

“`Telmex and Microsoft…share a common business vision,’
said Bill Gates, Microsoft chairman…

“`This joint venture draws on the skills and strengths of both companies,’ said Carlos Slim, chairman of the board of Telmex…”

(end of part 10)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The `New York Times'' Mexican Billionaire Connection Revisited: Part 9

New York Times Owner Slim’s Historic Rudolph Giuliani Connection

The same New Internationalist (6/1/04) magazine article also revealed how New York City’s former Republican Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s consulting firm was paid $4.3 million in 2004 by “a group of business interests” led by New York Times Owner Slim:

“Like his father before him, Carlos Slim is now eyeing the Mexico City real estate market. And he’s counting on ex-New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani for help. Slim…led a group of business interests who paid Giuliani’s consulting firm $4.3 million for a report on how to clean up the city’s historic centre. Both the mayor and the police chief embraced the report’s recommendations. Not surprisingly, they echo Giuliani’s approach in New York – which was basically to make it impossible for the poor to live there. The report calls for a crackdown on street vendors, prostitution, graffiti and homeless kids who watch parked cars for a few pesos. Critics fear the project is an attempt to boost property values for real estate speculators while pushing the poor to the city’s crowded suburban slums…”

(end of part 9)

Monday, April 13, 2015

Australian Anti-War Activist Joan Coxsedge's April 6, 2015 Letter

(The following letter from Australian anti-war and Latin American solidarity activist Joan Coxsedge—who is also a former member of the Victoria state parliament--originally appeared in an Australian-Cuban solidarity group’s newsletter)

"April 6, 2015

"Dear Comrades,

"Take time to smell the gumtrees and admire the abundance of gorgeous autumn colours.  A good way to take your mind off the creeps and crawlers infesting the higher echelons of our society and the havoc wreaked by deregulation, privatisation, corporatisation and globalisation.

" Some of you might remember a very funny documentary by film-maker Bob Connolly called Rats in the Ranks about a group of NSW ALP members fighting to get elected to a local council quite shamelessly talking to the camera about their machinations. They look like babes in the wood compared with the treacherous behaviour of some current senior Laborites.  Bob should make a sequel starring Martin Ferguson as King Rat who appeared on a Liberal Party TV/YouTube ad in the middle of the NSW election campaign attacking Labor for opposing the privatisation of electricity and then had the gall to describe Labor as his party. Co-starring with him as Liberal Party helpers were Labors hard men of the right, Paul Keating, Mark Latham, Michael Egan and Michael Costa (climate change denier who closed rail lines when he was Treasurer and now speaks for Murdoch), all of them Shorten backers. And shame on Labor for allowing George Brandis to get away with destroying even more of our freedoms with the pretence of improving our privacy.  Total bull.  We fought two world wars ostensibly to save democracy and for freedom of thought with the hope of making the world a better place, the same countries now busily killing off these hard-won freedoms.

"A modern form of fascism is on the march but you wont hear it talked about or mentioned on the telly.  But as Im writing this on Easter Sunday it seems reasonable to quote from the scriptures. As Jesus told the people of Nazareth: a prophet is without honour in his own country, a dictum that applies to anyone trying to tell the truth about corruption in high places and dominance of giant corporations. Julian Assange is still holed up in the Ecuadoran Embassy in London like Edward Snowdon in Moscow, or is tortured and imprisoned like Bradley Manning in the US.

"Real journalists are becoming as scarce as hens teeth. Most have turned into something ignoble and different. Former New York Times editor Jill Abramson told a forum that for many years the press in general did not publish stories that upset the White House, justifying the failure by stating that journalists are Americans too and I consider myself to be a patriot.   So when US journalists lie for their government its because theyre patriotic!  The same government that continues to invade, bomb and drone, killing, maiming and violently displacing millions of people is protected by a media where big lies are delivered with the precision of a metronome (Pilger), lies endlessly regurgitated throughout the world.

"You can still read good stuff on the Internet, but for how long?  Washington recently appointed former president of NBC News Andrew Lack to head the Broadcasting Board of Governors. His first official statement compared Russia Today, with the Islamic State and Boko Haram, part of a massive propaganda campaign to counter the revival of Russia. According to the latest polls, 62% of Americans now see Russia as the main threat. It gets worse. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, set up to protect our digital rights, reports that the about-to-be-signed Trans Pacific Partnership will have the power to impose prison sentences, massive fines and property seizures on Internet users who innocently violate vague language in the trade agreement.  Truth is indeed the enemy of the state.

"And while Abbott and his cohorts put their boots in (Christian) against those at the bottom of the heap, a few weeks ago rich developer Sam Tarascio opened his luxury penthouse to the Liberal Partys benefit arm, Enterprise 500 Victoria, for a select few to raise money for our boofhead PM.  A mere $5000 a pop!  Developers like him build ridiculously huge houses and ridiculously tiny apartments, buggering up our city. Melbourne now has more housing density than Hong Kong. Something to think about.

"And while these capitalist hucksters amass great wealth, our earths ability to sustain life is failing with civilisation itself at stake.  At the most we have about three decades to get CO2 emissions under control, with every day bringing fresh reports of climate change catastrophes.  Governments must accept the moral challenge of abolishing the fossil fuel economy, with nuclear completely ruled out. But while the rest of the world is spending $270 billion on renewables, Australias contribution is a paltry $330 million. 

"A different story for defence which gets more than $1.5 trillion a year, along with huge subsidies to the powerful fossil fuel lobby.  If theres a quid in buggering up our earth, environmental vandals will do it, like the way theyre knocking us off by putting herbicides, antibiotics, hormones and pesticides in our food, feeding us chemicals that are banned in most other countries.  Frankenstein food.

"In Obamas first five years in office, he supported new agreements to export in excess of $169 billion of US arms, more than any White House Administration since WW2, with 60% going to the Middle East (it took 9,658 air strikes to overthrow Gaddafi and destroy Libya opening the way for barbarous fanatics to dig in). But war is Americas national pastime.

"And Obama has just issued an Exec.Order stating that Venezuela is an extraordinary and unusual threat to the national interest of the US, giving him the authority to launch military action at any time. Venezuela is not alone. 138 nations have openly sided with it against Obamas decree.  And how wonderful to see Fidel out and about again giving Obama a poke in the eye by public supporting the Venezuelan Ambassador.

"Its about time we resurrected the Magna Carta. Chapter 13 states: No free man shall be seized or imprisoned or stripped of rights or possessions or outlawed or exiled or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him or send others to do so, except for the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land.    So say all of us!"

Joan Coxsedge


The `New York Times' Mexican Billionaire Connection Revisited: Part 8

New York Times Owner Slim’s Mexican Political Connections Historically

In addition to “receiving a million pesos from his mother” in 1966,  New York Times Owner Slim apparently benefitted financially in the following decades from “the fact that Slim was a huge contributor to” former Mexican President “Carlos Salinas de Gortari's PRI party,” according to an Aug. 20, 2007 Fortune magazine article; which also quoted College of William & Marry Professor of Government George Grayson as saying that Slim “made his billions because of an extremely close and advantageous relationship with the Salinas government.” The New Internationalist magazine in its June 1, 2004 issue also recalled that “as it happens Slim was good buddies with then-President Carlos Salinas de Gortari,” “in 1993, at a gala fundraising dinner, Slim—along with 30 other business leaders—pledged an average $25 million each to Gortari’s PRI party,” and “Salinas left office in 1994, was charged with massive fraud and corruption and has been in exile in Ireland ever since.”

(end of part 8)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The `New York Times'' Mexican Billionaire Connection Revisited: Part 7

New York Times Owner Slim’s 1960’s Money-Making

According to Chrystia Freeland’s Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else book, New York Times Owner Slim “started to make serious money straight out of college, when he was one of the Los Casabolseros or Stock Market Boys, a group of aggressive young men who traded shares on the Mexican stock market.” Then, “by the end of 1965” Slim “had established a brokerage house, acquired a bottling company, and incorporated a real-estate business, Inmobiliaria Carso” and in 1966, “upon receiving a million pesos from his mother…built a twelve-story condominium in Mexico City,” “occupied the ninth floor and rented out the other apartments,” according to Lawrence Wright’s June 1, 2009 article in The New Yorker. So by the age of 26, according to the 2009 American Journalism Review article, “Slim had already accumulated $400,000 in wealth from his business ventures and from his mother.”

(end of part 7)

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The `New York Times'' Mexican Billionaire Connection Revisited: Part 6

New York Times Owner Slim’s Billions and Poverty In Mexico

California State University Professor Emeritus Rodolfo Acuna also observed in a Dec. 27, 2013 article which was posted on the CounterPunch website that “as of December 2013” Slim’s “corporate holdings amounted to US $71.2 billion” while “some 50 percent of Mexicans live below the poverty line;” and “critics charge that Slim’s monopoly prevents the growth of smaller companies, and his monopolistic practices have resulted in a shortage of paying jobs, contributing to migration to the United States.” As University of California-San Diego Professor Emeritus Ramon Eduardo Ruiz noted in his 2010 book Mexico: Why A Few Are Rich and The People Poor:

“Of the more than 100 million Mexicans, why do over half live in poverty, some 20 million of them enduring daily hunger, barely able to keep body and soul together?...Mexico…ranks near the top of the list of countries with the most glaring inequalities of wealth and income...One Mexican, Carlos Slim, the telephone magnate, is one of the richest men in the world…Every 24 hours of every month of every year, his income grows at the rate of $22 million dollars, yet 1 out of 5 Mexicans survives on just $2 dollars a day...Unwilling to help their poor, Mexico's elite had chosen to rely on Uncle Sam to give the [Mexican] poor jobs and to feed them, and equally important, to avoid a potential social explosion of the restless [in Mexico]...No country in the world has exported more manpower than Mexico...An average of 450,000 people a year are thought to have crossed into the United States [from Mexico] during the early years of the 21st-century...One fact [in Mexico] stares one in the face. The well-off [in Mexico] hate paying taxes, and Mexico has one of the lowest-tax rates in the world….Over 12 million Mexicans do not have running water in their homes...Carlos Slim...purchased the [Mexican] nation's telephone a bargain price; his monopoly nonetheless...charges some of the world's highest phone rates...”

(end of part 6)

Friday, April 10, 2015

The `New York Times'' Mexican Billionaire Connection Revisited: Part 5

New York Times Owner and Philip Morris International Director Slim’s Special Economic Interests

In a Mar. 18, 2009 article that was posted on the CounterPunch website, John Ross indicated what the special economic interests of New York Times Owner Slim were in 2009:

“The big guns of Slim’s empire are Telmex, the Mexican phone monopoly that charges higher rates than any other such enterprise in the wide world, with which he was gifted in an excess of crony capitalism by the reviled ex-president Carlos Salinas, and American Mobil – the Mexican tycoon’s cell phone companies dominate 70% of the Latin American market. Also in the Slim portfolio: Inbursa banks; Carso Construction; Prodigy Internet (Mexico’s top provider); the Sanborn’s restaurant and department store chain; double digit chunks of Sears and Saks Fifth Avenue; the Mixup record store chain; El Globo, the nation’s top pan dulce outlet; "La Cigarera", his tobacco cartel in Nayarit state; and....the Historic Center of Mexico City…Now Carlos Slim owns up to 160 buildings in the old quarter and dominates rental property….Slim built his empire on corporate cannibalism…”.

(end of part 5)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The `New York Times'' Mexican Billionaire Connection Revisited: Part 4

New York Times Owner and Philip Morris International Director Slim’s Inherited Wealth

Much of the big money that New York Times Owner Slim used to gain control of his lucrative privatized telecommunications monopoly in Mexico (which—prior to 1990--had been a nationalized, publicly-owned utility company of the Mexican government) and to purchase his New York Times stock was originally “derived from selling cigarettes” to people in Mexico—where 15% to 20% of male deaths and 5% to 10% of female deaths in 2000 were thought attributable to smoking and an estimated 60,000 people died of tobacco-related illnesses in 2010—and his tobacco industry investment profits. As The New Yorker magazine (6/1/09) article also noted, his Cigatam tobacco industry company investment “provided Slim with a critical ingredient for amassing a fortune: steady cash flow.”

Yet some of the money that Mexican Billionaire Slim originally used to invest in his Mexican tobacco industry companies was apparently derived from the wealth he inherited from his father. As Sherry Ricchiardi noted in her 2009 “A Dubious Benefactor” article in the American Journalism Review [AJR], “his father, Julian Slim Haddad, moved to Mexico in 1902 and made a fortune as a merchant and in real estate” and “when he died, Julian Slim left his six children well heeled.” As long ago as 1922, for example, Carlos Slim’s father was apparently worth over 1 million Mexican pesos and apparently owned at least 11 valuable Downtown Mexico City real estate properties.

(end of part 4)

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The `New York Times'' Mexican Billionaire Connection Revisited: Part 3

New York Times Owner Slim’s Historic Tobacco Industry/Philip Morris International/Altria Connection

A 2010 research paper by Tiffany Burch, Nathaniel Wander and Jeff Collin, titled “Uneasy money: the Instituto Carlos Slim de la Salud, tobacco philanthropy and conflict of interest in global health”, described some conflicts-of-interest and ethical issues related to New York Times Owner Slim’s foundations that raised some questions about whether or not the New York Times owner is actually a “new breed” of billionaire who has aided health historically:

“In May 2007, the Instituto Carso de la Salud—now Instituto Carlos Slim de la Salud (ICSS)—was endowed with US$500 million to focus on priority health issues in Latin America… ICSS was soon criticized, however, on the grounds that its funding was derived from tobacco industry profits and that its founder Carlos Slim Hélu remained an active industry principal…This research…demonstrates a prima facie conflict of interest between ICSS's health mission and its founder's involvement in cigarette manufacturing and marketing, reflected on ICSS's website as a resounding silence on issues of tobacco and health….”

According to the “Uneasy Money” research paper:

"The Instituto Carlos Slim de la Salud (ICSS) or Carlos Slim Health Institute (originally Instituto Carso de la Salud), was founded as a health charity by Mexican businessman Carlos Slim Helú and inaugurated on 18 September 2007 by Mexican President Felipe Calderón and Sra. Vivian Fernández, wife of the president of Panama. Backed by health and political elites, ICSS…is partnering with the Clinton Global Initiative…Slim, one of the world's richest men whose holdings include telecommunications, finance and retailing, also owns a 20% stake in the Mexican cigarette manufacturer Cigarrera La Tabacalera Mexicana (Cigatam), with the majority interest currently held by Philip Morris International (PMI). Having previously served on the board of Philip Morris Companies, Inc. (renamed Altria in 2003), Slim joined the board of PMI when it was spun off from the Altria parent in April 2008. His annual compensation from PMI includes a retainer of at least US$100000, reimbursement of travel and business expenses and shares worth US$140000.

“…The then editor of Tobacco Control Simon Chapman described Slim as ‘a direct beneficiary of massive sales of tobacco’…This paper documents Slim's…involvement in tobacco corporations, detailing tobacco's significance in the development of his Grupo Carso (GC) and his historic and ongoing strategic value to the global tobacco industry…The documents presented here substantiate a longstanding pattern of financial and political relations between Carlos Slim/GC and Philip Morris/Altria/PMI…..

“The relationships between ICSS, Carlos Slim and the tobacco industry remain rooted in the finances of the Slim/GC commercial enterprise and in the services to the tobacco industry that Slim continues to provide. They have been and remain arguably antithetical to national, regional and global interests in public health…

“…GC (originally Grupo Galas) was incorporated in 1980 ‘to obtain the majority stake in Cigatam, in which Philip Morris was a 29% partner’….By 1995 Cigatam was Mexico's most profitable domestic cigarette company, generating 24% of GC's revenue and 32% of its net income. In 1997, immediately before Slim was elected to its board of directors, the Philip Morris parent company increased its stake in Cigatam to 50%, paying GC US$400 million. Shortly after the inauguration of ICSS in 2007, Slim/GC further profited by selling an additional 30% of Cigatam to PM/Altria at a price of US$1.1 billion. By 2008, Cigatam commanded 55% of the Mexican cigarette market and continued to increase its profits. The Slim/GC enterprise continues to benefit from its remaining 20% share of Cigatam, as well as from holdings in PMI.

“During the early 1980s, Slim/GC also became the largest shareholder in Cigatam's main competitor, Cigarerra La Moderna (CLM), which was partnered with British American Tobacco (BAT), though seemingly less openly than was Cigatam with PM…In 1985, ostensibly ‘to avoid antitrust problems’, Slim sold his 40% stake in CLM (which then held a 75% share of the Mexican market) to competitor/colleague Alfonso Romo Garza for US$32.4 million…Though formally competitors, Cigatam and CLM were described as functionally cooperative, being said to constitute an effective merchandising duopoly that controlled 98% of Mexico's cigarette market in 1997….

Slim's direct involvement in PM/Altria intensified during his service on the company's board of directors from 1997 to 2006, and he benefited additionally from annual retainers and share accumulations. Altria's 2005 Annual Report, the last full year in which Slim served, showed him owning over 4 million company shares, almost 1.5 times that of then-Chairman Louis Camilleri. In 2000, Slim purchased 3.9 million shares at greatly depressed prices, selling them for a profit of US$63 million 1year later. Slim retained 1.5 million Altria shares when he retired from its board in the spring of 2006.

“…Tobacco money enabled GC to purchase a share of the privatized Telefonos de Mexico (Telmex) from the Mexican government in 1990, which became the basis of GC telecommunications holdings…ICSS's funds originated in the tobacco industry…

“Even before his elevation to its board…Slim had been serving as a Philip Morris conduit to the Mexican government….Slim's value to Philip Morris was further demonstrated when the company made a substantial donation to a Slim family charity consistent with its wider ‘influence’ strategies….In March 2008, less than a year after the launch of the ICSS, Slim became a director for the newly independent Philip Morris International, when it was spun off from the PM/Altria parent company…Specifically, he serves on PMI's Regulatory Affairs and Product Innovations Committee…

“If Slim had no further role than the financing of a health charity, it would still present a problematic case of ‘white coating’—the tobacco industry clothing itself in the respectability and goodwill of medical research and healthcare provision. While Slim appears to have no official role in ICSS per se, he remains the Chairman Emeritus of GC, within which ICSS and its parent the Carlos Slim Foundation, are described as ‘a fundamental part of Carlos Slim Helú's business strategy and culture’…Although Slim does not sit on the ICSS board of nine directors,…three are family members (son Marco Antonio, also CEO of Inbursa and a GC director; son-in-law Arturo Elias, a GC director and a key Telmex executive, described as Slim's spokesman; and daughter Vanessa), a fourth is a GC executive (Raul Zepeda, a Telmex attorney and Inbursa director), two are directors of GC and/or its subsidiaries (Jose Kuri and Roberto Kriete)…

“Finally, it cannot be overemphasized that Slim, who is said to remain in close communication with his three sons and two sons-in-law, the active managers of his business interests, is not simply any wealthy patron. His family holdings were reported to comprise more than 5% of Mexico's 2006 gross domestic product and to account for one-third the value on Mexico's US$422 billion stock exchange. Consistently ranked alongside Bill Gates and Warren Buffett as one of the three richest men in the world, Slim's significance within a national economy 1/14th the size of the US substantially exceeds that of Buffett and Gates…

“ICSS's funding from telecommunication and infrastructure shares ultimately derives from the tobacco industry. By Slim's account, it was the large cash flows generated by cigarette manufacturing, and by our analysis, additional profits from shares in domestic and transnational tobacco companies that financed GC's expansion into these other sectors…The tobacco links at play here are not matters of ancient history: GC, which parents the Carlos Slim Foundation of which ICSS is a subsidiary, retains a 20% share in the pre-eminent tobacco company in the largest market in Spanish-speaking America, and Slim and his family have benefited from owning large volumes of shares in Altria and PMI….By serving PMI, the founder of what would be Latin America's most influential health charity has agreed to promote the long-term interests of the world's leading tobacco transnational....

“The profits, power and prestige of Slim, his family and GC are substantially derived from selling cigarettes; their ongoing engagement in this business suggests their continued acceptance of this activity as unproblematic…ICSS can reasonably be viewed as essentially the tobacco-funded gift of one of the world's richest men….”

(end of part 3)

Monday, April 6, 2015

The `New York Times'' Mexican Billionaire Connection Revisited: Part 2

Most people who live in New York City—including most of New York City’s over 183,000 Mexican-American residents—don’t think that the human rights of people in Mexico should be violated or that Mexican workers and consumers should be exploited by the Mexican government or the corporations that Mexican billionaires or U.S. billionaires own or control.

Yet one of the richest billionaires in the world—a Mexican billionaire named Carlos Slim—has been one of the owners in recent years of the Big Apple’s New York Times newspaper—which publishes “all the news that fits the rich” each day. As Sherry Ricchiardi noted in an article, titled “A Dubious Benefactor,” that appeared in the April/May 2009 issue of American Journalism Review [AJR]:

“On January 19 [2009], the Times Co. accepted a $250 million loan at 14 percent interest from a controversial billionaire who already owned a 6.9 percent stake in the company.

“The benefactor: Carlos Slim Helú.

“Immediately, questions swirled about the propriety of the nation's leading newspaper getting a bailout from a much-criticized subject of its own news coverage…The industry was abuzz with the apparent conflict of interest…The Times Co. declined requests for an interview about the company's connection to the Mexican billionaire…Slim's son-in-law and spokesman, Arturo Elias Ayub, declined a request for an interview with Slim or a family member for this story…If Slim exercises the warrants he holds from the loan, he will be among the largest single shareholders in the Times Co., owning up to 17 percent of the common shares outstanding...reported Times writer Eric Dash…”

And in an article, titled “When the World’s Richest Billionaire Owns Your Paper: The New York Times covers Carlos Slim—carefully,” that appeared in the November 2013 issue of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting [F.A.I.R.]’s Extra! magazine, Zaid Jilani indicated how the New York Times has been reporting in recent years about the Mexican billionaire that owns much of its stock:

“In 2008, the multibillionaire purchased a 6.4 percent stake in the New York Times Company. Today, he is the second-largest shareholder in the company, with a 13 percent stake…

“A natural topic for coverage would be Slim’s telecommunications monopoly that critics charge has free rein to rip off millions of consumers…The OECD calculated that this virtual monopoly by Slim reduces the living standard of the average Mexican family by over $600 a year...The OECD study did get a passing reference in a 2011 Times article on Mexico’s attempt to break up Slim’s monopoly—which mentioned Slim’s stake in the Times in the print version, but not the online edition. The article, headlined `Mexico Takes Aim at a Titan in Telecom,’ looked at a $1 billion fine that Mexico’s antitrust agency imposed on one of Slim’s subsidiaries…Places where criticism of Slim would seem obvious sometimes find him conspicuously absent, as when Times columnist Thomas Friedman wrote that Mexico has `big energy, telecom’ monopolies that are harming the country’s economy—without naming the Mexican monopolist who owns much of the company that pays Friedman’s salary.

“Incidents of public pushback to Slim’s business practices have also gone unnoted, as when hundreds demonstrated when George Washington University gave him an honorary degree; Mexican immigrant groups threatened boycotts against his telecommunications companies; and activists in the U.S. and Mexico formed the group Two Countries, One Voice to rally against Slim…You’ll find the paper’s sharpest criticism of Slim in an op-ed from 2007, a year before he became an investor in the Times. In it, Eduardo Porter condemns Slim as a `robber baron.’ Porter writes that `Mr. Slim’s sin, if not technically criminal, is like that of Rockefeller, the sin of the monopolist.’…

“Perhaps the paper was feeling like it had given its future investor a raw deal. By December of that year, it published a reported piece calling Slim a `new breed of billionaire’ who “has pledged billions of dollars to his two foundations that will aid health and education.’”

(end of part 2)

Sunday, April 5, 2015

The `New York Times'' Mexican Billionaire Connection Revisited: Part 1

“…Between 2008 and 2011 the second-largest shareholder in the New York Times was Carlos Slim…”

--from Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else by Chrystia Freeland in 2012

“Mexican telecoms billionaire Carlos Slim says he could exercise stock warrants in The New York Times Co which expire early next year, a move that would more than double his stake in the media company.

“Slim currently owns about 8 percent of common shares, which would increase to about 17 percent if he exercises the warrants, according to a Reuters calculation using the New York Times’s latest SEC filing….”

--from a July 11. 2014 Reuters article

“…As a telecommunications and retail tycoon, Slim’s unrivaled clout reaches deep into the Mexican political system. His early fortune fed off tobacco… Although in 2007 his holding company reduced its stake in Philip Morris de Mexico from 50 percent to 20 percent, his tobacco business last year was worth $284 million. Between 1997 and 2006, Slim was a director with Philip Morris International’s former parent company, Altria. Today he serves on the board of Philip Morris International...”

--from a November 2010 Center for Public Integrity report

“`Carlos Slim has an undeniable track record of ravaging everything he purchases with monopolistic and predatory practices,’ noted Andres Ramirez, Two Countries One Voice [TCOV] co-founder…Carlos Slim, one of the richest men in the world, who has traded places as the richest man with Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, created an empire primarily from his monopoly on the Mexican telecommunications system…”

--from an Oct. 7, 2013 Two Countries One Voice press release.

“The statement by [Mexican Government] Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam today that the 43 students who disappeared in September could have been killed, burned and dumped in a river fails to address the government’s complicity in this tragedy, Amnesty International said today.

“The investigation into the enforced disappearance and extrajudicial killings has been limited and incomplete, with officials failing to challenge the entrenched collusion between the state and the organized crime which underlies these grave violations of human rights, said Amnesty International today…”

--from a Nov. 8, 2014 Amnesty International press release

(end of part 1)

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Black Female Worker `Not Seasonally Adjusted' Jobless Rate Increases To 8.9 Percent In March 2015

Between February and March 2015, the official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for Black female workers over 20 years-of-age in the United States increased from 8.7 to 8.9 percent; while the number of unemployed Black female workers over 20 years-of-age increased by 27,000 (from 835,000 to 862,000) during the same period, according to the “not seasonally adjusted” Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

The official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for Black youths between 16 and 19 years-of-age in the United States was still 23.1 percent in March 2015; while the number of unemployed Black youths was still 137,000 during the same month, according to the “not seasonally adjusted” Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

The official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for Latino youths between 16 and 19 years-of-age in the United States was still 19.8 percent in February 2015; while the official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for white youths between 16 and 19 years-of-age increased from 15.3 to 15.6 percent between February and March 2015. In addition, the “not seasonally adjusted” number of unemployed white youths between 16 and 19 years-of-age increased by 33,000 (from 637,000 to 670,000) during the same period..

The official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for all youths between 16 and 19 years-of-age in the United States was still 17 percent in March 2015; while the total “not seasonally adjusted” number of all unemployed youths between 16 and 19 years-of-age increased by 16,000 (from 904,000 to 920,000) between February and March 2015.

The official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for Black male workers over 20 years-of-age in the United States was still 10.4 percent in March 2015; while the “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for all Black workers in the United States (youth, male and female) was also still 10 percent during that same month.

The official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for white female workers over 20 years-of-age in the United States was still 4.1 percent in March 2015; while the official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for white male workers over 20 years-of-age was still 4.8 during that same month. In addition, the “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for all white workers (youth, male and female) was still 4.9 percent in March 2015.

In March 2015, the official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for Latino male workers over 20 years-of-age was still 6.2 percent; while the official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for all Latino workers (youth, male and female) in the United States was still 7 percent during that same month.. In addition, the official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for Latina female workers over 20 years-of-age increased from 6.4 to 6.7 percent between February and March 2015; while the “not seasonally adjusted” number of unemployed Latina female workers over 20 years-of-age increased by 39,000 (from 666,000 to 705,000) during the same period.  

Between February and March 2015, the “not seasonally adjusted” number of Asian-American workers in the U.S. labor force decreased by 75,000 (from 9,042,000 to 8,957,200); while the “not seasonally adjusted” number of Asian-American workers not in the labor force increased by 80,000 (from 5,249,000 to 5,329,000). In addition, the official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for Asian-American workers in the United States was still 3.1 percent in March 2015.

The official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for all female workers over 16 years-of-age in the United States was still 5.1 percent in March 2015; while the official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for all female workers over 20 years-of-age was still 4.8 percent during the same month. In addition, the official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for all male workers over 16 years-of-age in the United States was still 6 percent in March 2015; while the official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for all male workers over 20 years-of-age was still 5.5 percent during that same month.

In March 2015, the official “not seasonally adjusted” total number of unemployed workers in the United States was still 8,682,000; while the official unemployment rate for all U.S. workers (male, female and youth) was still 5.6 percent during that same month, according to the “not seasonally adjusted” data

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ April 3, 2015 press release:

“…In March…the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.5 percent…Mining lost jobs….The number of unemployed persons was little changed at 8.6 million…:

“The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 2.6 million in March. These individuals accounted for 29.8 percent of the unemployed….The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed in March at 6.7 million. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.

“In March, 2.1 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, little changed from a year earlier…These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the past 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.

“Among the marginally attached, there were 738,000 discouraged workers in March, little different from a year earlier…Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them…..

“….In March…nursing care facilities lost jobs (-6,000)…Employment in mining declined by 11,000 in March. The industry has lost 30,000 jobs thus far in 2015…The employment declines in the first quarter of 2015…were concentrated in support activities for mining, which includes support for oil and gas extraction…Employment in other major industries, including construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, and government showed little change over the month…

“…Employment gains in January and February combined were 69,000 less than previously reported…”